Redesigning how people dieMAR 21

From the cool devices in our hands, to the software on our screens, to the smooth stylings of Jony Ive's Apple product video voiceovers, it's clear this is the era of design. Since design has touched and changed so many parts of our lives, isn't it time that we redesigned death? The chief creative officer at one of the top design firms in the world thinks it is:

With just a little attention, it seemed -- a few metaphorical mirrors affixed to our gurneys at just the right angle -- he might be able to refract some of the horror and hopelessness of death into more transcendent feelings of awe and wonder and beauty.

From Jon Mooallem in California Sunday Magazine: Death, Redesigned. (I like where you're going with the embalming and the eternal darkness, I just think it could pop a little more.)

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This guest blogger says thanks for readingSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 20

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I had a great time guest-blogging here this week! Thanks so much to Jason and to everyone who read, some of the smartest, most interesting readers I've found online. It was really a thrill. It was like being Krang inside the exosuit, but in a good way.

When Jason originally put out the call on Twitter for a guest blogger, he tweeted, "It's a paid gig or you can do it for the lolz and we'll donate the fee to a charity of your choosing." So we're donating the money to Girls Write Now, a terrific New York City-based non-profit that pairs talented at-risk teen girls with professional writer mentors to create the next generation of great women writers.

You can find me online here or on Twitter.

Update (from Jason): Thanks, Susannah! It's been great having you here. I just dropped your fee into the coffers of Girls Write Now. If some of you would like to do the same, you can donate here; it'll only take you a couple minutes.

And since Susannah was too courteous to promote her recently published short story, The Tumor, I'll do it.

Hysterical Literature explores women, sex, and agingSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 20

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You may have seen artist Clayton Cubitt's NSFW Hysterical Literature project. On YouTube, the videos have been viewed nearly 50 million times. The recipe is simple: a woman, a book, and a Hitachi Magic Wand. In the latest installment, Janet, who's in her early sixties, reads Ralph Waldo Emerson. It's a lovely meditation on women, sexuality, and age. The project is also on view at MASS MoCA's Bibliothecaphilia show.

Dope Rider rides againSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 20

Since I wasn't a High Times reader in 1975, I missed the debut of Dope Rider, a totally trippy, startlingly surrealistic comic strip starring a Wild West skeleton and created by Paul Kirchner. Thankfully, Kirchner has uploaded the entire Dope Rider oeuvre and shared the back story on what may be one of the comic world's stranger strips. The psychedelic comic features dope trading, Hells Angels references, and lines like, "The best things about being high is the view."

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(via Gawker)

How a data-selfie could boost your immune systemSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 20

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A thought-provoking post from Laurie Frick: "Will a Data-Selfie Boost Your Immune System?"

In the future I imagine human data portraits manifested from reams of personal tracking data gathered invisibly as we move thru the day. Genuine data-selfies. We are so close to gathering every possible morsel of data about us, imagine what could be possible once you owned every bit of data gathered about you. After some thought, I decided it's more than just seeing personal data and abstract patterns of you. It's about what these patterns will tell us about ourselves. Data collected about us will unfold a personal narrative and story to reveal a hidden part of us we are trained to ignore, a way to know ourselves and anticipate what comes next. Perhaps seeing the abstract patterns and rhythms of your self-tracking data is a short-cut to mindfulness. A quick and dirty way to boost your immune system, the benefits of meditation and self-reflection without much effort.

Frick makes art out of data. She also made an app called FRICKbits that empowers you to turn your data into art.

The first and final frames of 55 filmsSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 20

I really love this video featuring the opening and closing shots of fifty-five movies presented side-by-side, "First and Final Frames." Created by Jacob T. Swinney.

My favorites: "Tree of Life," "Raging Bull," "Melancholia."

A lion gets a CAT scanSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 20

Apparently, this is what it looks like when a lion is getting a CAT scan.

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(via Amanda Macias)

Mad Max: Fury Road international trailer drops, explodes in your faceSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 19

The "Mad Max: Fury Road" international trailer features fire and blood, colorful explosions, and Charlize Theron screaming. What a lovely day, indeed. BRB, I gotta go get in line.

(via This Isn't Happiness)

Life lessons from a tattooerSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 19

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Leslie Rice (whose work you see here) is a second-generation tattoo artist who's been tattooing for twenty years, and here's the number one thing he's learned: "Women are tougher than men."

"Women and men have a very different approach to traumatic things like getting tattoos. Women are far more willing to accept it and go with the flow, whereas men will try and fight it, so you end up in this horrible situation where men end up vomiting and passing out and falling on the floor, and the women don't tend to do that."

(via Needles and Sins)

Two women leading parallel lives are getting to know each other through dataSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 19

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Giorgia Lupi, who lives in New York, and Stefanie Posavec, who lives in London, are engaged in a long-distance, postcard-based data exchange in order to get to know each other better: "Dear Data." They've only met in person twice, and they're both interested in data, so they're sending each other postcard drawings of data about their day-to-day lives.

Each week we collect and measure a particular type of data about our lives, use this data to make a drawing on a postcard-sized sheet of paper, and then drop the postcard in an English "postbox" (Stefanie) or an American "mailbox" (Giorgia)!

Eventually, the postcard arrives at the other person's address with all the scuff marks of its journey over the ocean: a type of "slow data" transmission.

By creating and sending the data visualizations using analogue instead of digital means, we are really just doing what artists have done for ages, which is sketch and try to capture the essence of the life happening around them. However, as we are sketching life in the modern digital age, life also includes everything that is counted, computed, and measured.

We are trying to capture the life unfolding around us, but instead we are capturing this life through sketching the hidden patterns found within our data.

The data appears on the front of the postcard, and a key explaining how to read the data appears on the back of the postcard. (via Coudal)

James Joyce invented words and they are awesomeSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 19

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James Joyce is the greatest writer the world has ever known. Arguably! He didn't even bother confining himself to the known language. He created words of his own.

A few highlights from "17 Words Invented by James Joyce":

Bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunnt-rovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk. This is Joyce's most famous word creation. It's from Finnegans Wake, and it's supposed to sound like a thunderclap. Which it does. If you can figure out how to pronounce it.

Peloothered. This means you're drunk. Someone calls you this in Ireland, and you know you're blotto.

Smilesmirk. Girls on Instagram have basically perfected this one.

Update: Ryan Goodlett advises: "I've found after a handful of languages that Icelandic sounds the best." Agreed! And Kevin Krebs suggests: "you'll want to follow @FW_WOTD." Michael Schwartz says: "You might want to try james Joyce or Kool Keith." I got six out of ten. How embarrassing.

This pink 1971 Chevrolet Impala donk is impressiveSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 19

This is a donk.

It can be yours for $65,000.

How to turn hollow point bullets into a flowering flower potSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 18

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This guy turned recovered Federal HST pistol bullets into a Valentine's Day gift for his girlfriend.

I started out with a box of Federal 9x19mm HST 147gr pistol ammunition. This was a box of 50 rounds purchased at the Gun Bunker in Shrewsbury PA for $35 plus tax. I fired 6 of these cartridges into a 30" tall trash can filled with water. I did this from an elevated firing position, striking the water perfectly perpendicular. I used a Beretta 92FS Inox pistol with a 5" barrel, and a Freedom Armory Machine Works Grenadier 45 suppressor (as to not alarm the neighbors). This caused the hollowpoints to expend nearly perfectly, with nothing to deform them before they were fully decelerated by the water. One of the six did not expand, and was discarded. A firearm with a significantly longer or shorter barrel would have probably affected the expansion. I was about 10 feet above the trash can, but I still managed to get splashed from this.

Wealthy women are putting their babies in Birkin bagsSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 18

An Hermes Birkin bag costs between $10,000 and $150,000, and women of a certain income bracket who own Birkin bags are putting their babies in them.

There are babies in blue Birkin bags, babies in green Birkin bags, babies in patterned Birkin bags, babies in unknown original color Birkin bags, and babies in bougainvillea ostrich Birkin bags.

This woman made her daughter a Birkin bag Halloween costume.

Who started the Baby-in-a-Birkin trend?

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It appears Maggie Simpson is the culprit.

Tony Montana is selling his Scarface mansionSUSANNAH BRESLIN  ·  MAR 18

Have you always dreamed of owning the home where Tony Montana married Elvira Hancock? The "Scarface" estate known as El Fureidis can be yours for only $34M.

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But many of the classic features of the mansion are still in place: an 18-foot-high central dome adorned with 24-karat gold leaf in the Byzantine-style alcove, as well as a formal dining room ceiling depicting a scene of Alexander the Great conquering Persepolis in 330 B.C. (also designed with 24-karat gold leaf).

NB: The house isn't in Coral Gables, FL. It's in Montecito, CA.

Here's a relatively exhaustive exploration of "Scarface" shooting locations, including the elevator scene and the chainsaw scene. (via Damon Brown)

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